Art Here, Art Now: A Realm Between

This year we are excited to partner with the Department of Art History at the University of Kansas to provide background and insight on participating artists and their work. David Cateforis, Department Chair and Art History Professor, leads graduate students enrolled in the course Art Here, Art Now as they select and research some of the artists participating in the Art Auction.

Natasha Welsh, MA student in Art History at the University of Kansas, on Herb Friedson

Herb Friedson’s sculptural wall pieces inhabit a realm between sculptural relief and painting. He currently works as a freelance designer and has taught jewelry and metalsmithing at the University of Kansas, exhibiting his work both regionally and nationally. Inspired by the dramatic visuals of theatre and dance, Friedson contrasts vibrant colors with embellished surfaces. In Dreamscape, organic structures punctuate the austere landscape. Floating in the center of the wooden field, red horizontal bands bisect an overlapping series of marbled blue fans, containing circles of lighter red and mint-green. While cross-hatched blues and grays encircle coral-esque growths, striated cerulean forms eddy across the bottom of the composition.

These biomorphic growths manifest as aquatic creatures frozen within the picture plane. Each segment contains a suggestion of natural phenomena, at first glance appearing as anthropomorphic cloud formations and subtly merging into the ripples on a pond or the brush of a finned fish. Primarily working in enamel and wood, Friedson creates these fantastical manifestations beginning with a sheet of copper. After cutting it into the desired shape, he adheres ground glass enamel onto the copper. From there, the enamel-coated sheet is heated in a kiln to melt the glass, and the slab is buffed until glossy. Once in their final configuration, these creations form a sensual and colorfully fragmented mosaic.